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Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips  Deadlines

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Chicago Booth 2018-19 MBA essay tips and deadlines. For more, watch the Get Accepted to Chicago Booth webinar!

Chicago Booth, which has never shied away from change, has changed its MBA application essays almost entirely this year.

A few highlights:

• Booth went from one required essay with a visual presentation option to two required essays.

• There is no visual component to Booth’s application this year. After pioneering the visual element roughly ten years ago and having you choose from several pictures for the last two years the “moment” that most resonated with you, Booth’s app this year is entirely written. Booth may, however, invite waitlisted applicants to submit a video.

• The two required questions have 250-word minimums. While specifying MBA essay length minimums is very unusual, it fits with Booth’s history of breaking the mold. At the same time, don’t infer that the absence of a maximum is a license for verbosity. As Booth says, “We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be.” Do use your best judgement, otherwise you will be showing a different kind of judgement, and you really don’t want to do that.

• The optional question this year is more restrictive than in years past.

• The reapplicant question is unchanged.

While most prompts have changed, the intent of these questions is the same: to get to know you, see how you think, and to see how you will fit into Booth’s community .

Chicago Booth MBA Application Question #1:

How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250 word minimum)

In order to answer this question you need to know three things:

1. Your immediate post-MBA goal, which you should be able to define in terms of function (what you want to do after you earn your MBA — not study during the MBA) and industry or type of company. Sometimes location can play a role, and if so, provide that information, too.

2. Your longer-term professional aspirations. These don’t have to be as specific as your short-term goal, but the two should be related.

3. The Chicago Booth program. Specifically how do you intend to use distinctive Booth strengths to build on your past and prepare yourself for your chosen career? If it’s not obvious how your previous education and experience when combined with the Booth MBA will help you achieve both goals, clarify.

To answer the question, you can start with a seminal experience, preferably an achievement that shaped your goals and aspirations. Tell a story about this experience and describe what you learned from it and how it has influenced you and your short- and long-term goals .

Then talk about Booth. Look at the curriculum, strengths, career placement, and extra-curricular activities that support your ambitions.

Alternatively, start with the achievement of your goal — a day-in-the-life approach — then flash back and tell the story of that seminal experience and how it and Booth prepared you for the future day that started your essay.

Last week I attended the AIGAC conference, which Chicago Booth hosted for one morning. During the informative sessions at Booth, the admissions committee members made clear that they are looking for students who demonstrate self-awareness and direction. They want to read your application and see, based on what you’ve done, that you’re going to make a mark on the world.

Write this essay so that it shows both self-awareness and your ability to make that mark.

Chicago Booth MBA Application Question #2:

Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life? (250 word minimum)

Choose 1-3 important decisions that you’ve made, ones where the outcome was anything but certain, you had lots of options, and there was no obvious right way or clear winner among the options. Think of a fork in the road with many pathways leading from it.

You were then in a choice-rich environment, like the one that Booth will provide. What “interests, leadership experiences, and other passions” influenced your choices? Is there a common thread to your decision-making process that will tie together these decisions, as well as your essay?

An excellent response to this essay has to show the self-awareness that I heard about last week as well as a clear sense of priorities. The ability to prioritize will be vital to anyone accepted to Chicago Booth’s MBA program.

Response Guidelines:

• Length: There is no maximum length, only a 250 word minimum. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.

• File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.

• Acceptable Formats: Use the text box provided in the application or upload a Word document.

Chicago Booth MBA Optional Essay Question:

Is there any unclear information in your application that needs further explanation? (300 words maximum)

This is a restrictive optional question . Booth is really asking only for information that will clarify something that is unclear, like a drop in grades one semester or a period of unemployment, or why your current supervisor is not writing your letter of recommendation..

This question, unlike the required questions, does have a word limit. Respect it.

Chicago Booth MBA Reapplicant Question:

Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

The answer to this question is critical for MBA reapplicants, and it’s different from most reapplication essays in that it’s more about your perspective than what you’ve done. Chicago wants to see growth and development. Same old, same old got you a ding last time and probably will again this time.

Let this brief essay show a maturation and evolution of your goals and reasons for wanting to attend Chicago Booth. Let it also reveal that you meet Chicago’s criteria better this year than last.

For expert guidance with your Chicago Booth MBA application, check out Accepted’s  MBA Application Packages , which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Chicago Booth’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!

Chicago Booth 2018-19 MBA Application Deadlines :

Application DeadlineDecisions Released
 Round 1September 27, 2018
11:59 p.m. CST
December 6, 2018
 Round 2January 3, 2019
11:59 p.m. CST
March 21, 2019
 Round 3April 4, 2019
11:59 p.m. CST
May 16, 2019

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***

Register for the webinar!

Linda Abraham By  Linda Abraham , president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions,  MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools .


Related Resources:

•  From Example to Exemplary , your guide to writing outstanding application essays
• Chicago Booth’s Class of 2019 Profile
• Leadership in Admissions , a free guide

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The Best MBA Deferred Admissions Programs (to apply to when still in college)



College is a great time to apply to business school. Applying now gives you another opportunity for admission, a potentially less competitive peer group to compete against, and much greater flexibility on when to attend. An offer of admission from a top program also enhances your resume prestige and hedges your career risk. There really is no downside. Offers of deferred admission usually give students a guaranteed spot in a future MBA class provided they spend two or more years getting business experience (which you will need anyways to get the most out of business school). Here are the top programs that offer such deferred enrollment options: 


Harvard Business School 2+2

Perhaps the most famous of the deferred admission MBA programs is Harvard’s 2+2, established by its famous former director Lee Leopold. Seen as a tactic to pluck out high-prestige students who might otherwise be attracted by the prospect of law school, 2+2 is now a leading feeder of STEM students, among others, into its rigorous case-based classes. 60% of 2+2 admits come from STEM backgrounds and 20% come from international students.

Students in college or graduate programs (attended directly after college, but not PhD programs, law school or medical school) can apply and defer attending the 2-year MBA program for between 2 and 4 years. To be considered for admission to the 2+2 Program Class of 2022 (entering fall 2020), you must graduate from your program between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018. 2+2 applicants save $150 on the application fee compared to regular applicants.

Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment

An excellent way into the US business school with the lowest acceptance rate. Stanford actually offers direct enrollment opportunities for college students, however in almost every case this deferred enrollment option is more advisable. Deferred Enrollment is open to those graduating between October last year and September this year from either college or a graduate program you immediately enrolled in after college, as well as current law school and medical school students. In most cases the deferral requested by GSB for the student is 2 years. Candidates for this program can apply in any round, though Round 3 is slightly preferred, and the application fee is $100.

Stanford intimates that this enrollment option is aimed at college seniors who seek to work in post-MBA industries that either require work experience (consulting) or previous work experience in that same field (private equity, biotechnology).


Wharton Moelis Advance Access Program

The newest deferred admission program on the market! Open only to undergraduate students studying at the University of Pennsylvania, the Moelis Advance Access Program is a deferred admission program that gives Penn undergraduates a guaranteed pathway to the Wharton MBA while they pursue quality work experience. Moelis Fellows access the Wharton network and resources during their deferment period and will be considered for a $10,000 per year fellowship during the 2-year full-time MBA program. Applications open in March with Round 3.

Yale SOM Silver Scholars Program

Truly unique among the “deferred admission” programs is Yale’s Silver Scholars. A three year program, Silver Scholars spend the first year completing the core curriculum at Yale, the second year in an extended internship, and third year taking elective coursework back at Yale before graduation. Extended internship placements include start-ups, government education departments, general management roles in large corporations, and investment firms. Though the Silver Scholar is different in character than the traditional MBA programs, it offers students a “first class ticket” at this prestigious business school that is rocketing up the rankings.


Chicago Booth Scholars Program

Booth offers two programs aimed at college students. The first is the Booth Scholars Program, which provides fourth-year students studying at the University of Chicago a special opportunity to apply to Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program prior to graduation and defer enrollment for three years. During the deferment period, Booth Scholars are expected to seek substantive work experience that will position them to succeed at Chicago Booth and beyond.

Booth also accepts applications from college seniors looking to directly attend Booth after college. These candidate apply through the regular process, but their application fees are waived.


BONUS secret program: MIT Sloan

Though MIT never explicitly states that it has a deferred admission program, it does! You can see implicitly from its FAQs , notably

  • “We offer fee waivers to the following applicants:… Current college seniors who are U.S. citizens and who will graduate from a U.S. university in 2018”
  • Q: “Do you offer deferrals?
    A: “Our general policy is not to defer admission, except in the case of college seniors who wish to get work experience before returning to school.”
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